Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More on Nationals

Every now and then I meet someone who knows everyone. And I do mean everyone. As in, everywhere I go, every stranger I meet, they all know this person. There was a guy from college that I met within the first few days of arriving on campus (no romantic involvement here). He was everywhere, super-involved in lots of things. Everyone knew him. I attended Wash U in St. Louis, which is not a tiny school. Not mammoth either, but with 5000ish undergrads on campus, its not like everyone knows everyone else. He graduated probably 2 years ahead of me in a different engineering discipline. After graduation, I started work at a small local consulting company, where most of the company had worked together for over 10 years. One day, I was sitting in the conference room at a client site, and one of my managers was chatting with the client (they used to work together elsewhere) and they were talking about some guy named (ThisGuysName). Its not a common name, and my ears pricked up. Um, are you talking about (HisName)? Yes, yes they were. Small world. Even smaller when he later married a friend of a friend. I still run into him once or twice a year, and occasionally find a coworker here (at my 3rd employer) who knows him. Weird how that works out.

Recently, I met another one of those everywhere people. Jeannie Lin. She’s been around RWA for a while, attended a bunch of conferences, and been active in at least two chapters—LARA and MORWA. And every other person I met at the RWA conference knows her. The neat thing was when I introduced myself to a stranger and she said, “Oh, you’re one of Jeannie Lin’s crit partners.” It’s a small, small world, and Jeannie has perfected the art of networking. She’s also very nice and a superb writer. So its no surprise that everyone knows her.

In addition to that little observation, my conference experience was great. I’m not quite the social butterfly that others are, but I do warm up with time. I had two pitch appointments—one editor and one agent. I intended to pitch my sci fi to the agent, and my contemporary to the editor, and ended up with 2 requests for the contemporary. The only bad thing is that the editor might have requested either the full or the partial, but I forgot to clarify which. I think I’ll send the partial to both, offering the full as well. And, of course, though I claim that the book is “done”, I feel the need to dust it off and do a quick editing pass before sending it on (I can’t help it….but I think it’s a compulsion that many writers share). I still want it sent by the end of this week. I may have a few late nights ahead of me to make sure I meet that self-imposed deadline.

I loved seeing the faces of editors and agents. Hearing their voices, seeing them laugh and smile, and sometimes even stammer through a Q&A session makes them feel so much more human. Not just an all-powerful being somewhere with the power to make or break my writing career. But a normal, approachable person. And I have noted the names of 2 NY editors in particular who expressed interest in Sci Fi and futuristic romances. I was too scared to talk to either in person, but I’ll be polishing Leap and either tossing it for the slush pile, or waiting for a contest or other opening to get it in front of them.

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